Fort Atkinson, Wisconsin

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Fort Atkinson, Wisconsin
City
A portion of downtown Fort Atkinson
A portion of downtown Fort Atkinson
WIMap-doton-Fort Atkinson.png
Coordinates: 42°55′38″N 88°50′26″W / 42.92722°N 88.84056°W / 42.92722; -88.84056Coordinates: 42°55′38″N 88°50′26″W / 42.92722°N 88.84056°W / 42.92722; -88.84056
Country United States
State Wisconsin
County Jefferson
Government
 • Type City Council
 • President Davin Lescohier
Area[1]
 • Total 5.82 sq mi (15.07 km2)
 • Land 5.67 sq mi (14.69 km2)
 • Water 0.15 sq mi (0.39 km2)
Elevation 784 ft (239 m)
Population (2010)[2]
 • Total 12,368
 • Estimate (2012[3]) 12,466
 • Density 2,181.3/sq mi (842.2/km2)
Time zone CST (UTC-6)
 • Summer (DST) CDT (UTC-5)
Zip Code 53538
Area code(s) 920
FIPS code 55-26675[4]
GNIS feature ID 1565151[5]
Website http://www.fortatkinsonwi.net/

Fort Atkinson is a city in Jefferson County, Wisconsin, United States. It is located on the Rock River, a few miles upstream from Lake Koshkonong. The population was 12,368 at the 2010 census.

History[edit]

Fort Atkinson was named after General Henry Atkinson,[6] the commander of U.S. forces in the area during the Black Hawk War (1832) against a mixed band of Sauk, Meskwaki and Kickapoo peoples. The city developed at the site of Fort Koshkonong, which was used during that war. A replica of the original 1832 stockade has been built just outside of town, although not at the original site. The fort was located to control the confluence of the Rock and Bark rivers.

The settlement grew rapidly in the mid-nineteenth century, after migration of United States pioneers from the East, especially from New York State and the northern tier. They were among the many migrants carrying the New England Yankee culture west across the northern tier of states.[7]

The history and natural history of Fort Atkinson and the surrounding area are presented at the Hoard Historical Museum and National Dairy Shrine Museum.[8] William Dempster Hoard founded the nationally distributed dairy farm magazine, Hoard's Dairyman, in Fort Atkinson in 1885. The museums include the Frank and Luella Hoard House, the Dwight and Almira Foster House, and the Knox Research Library and Archive. The Dairy Shrine portion of the complex portrays the past, present, and future of the dairy industry.

The oldest man-made features near Fort Atkinson are a cluster of prehistoric earthworks indigenous mounds located just south of town. In a curious honor, settlers named them the General Atkinson Mound Group. Thes mounds are a remnant of the Woodland Period within present-day Wisconsin. They are effigy and geometric mounds, different from the platform mounds at nearby Aztalan State Park, built by peoples of the Mississippian culture, which reached its peak about 1300 CE, had settlements throughout the Mississippi Valley and its tributaries, extending from central Illinois northward to the Great Lakes and also to the Southeastern United States. Materials were traded within the culture from the Great Lakes to the Gulf of Mexico. A 125-foot (38 m) long panther intaglio appears on a mound west of town, the last remaining intaglio in the state.[9]

Fort Atkinson's 19th- and early 20th-century building history is preserved in the Main Street and Merchants Avenue historic districts. Other Registered Historic Places include the Fort Atkinson Water Tower, Panther Intaglio Effigy Mound, David W. and Jane Curtis House, Hoard's Dairyman Farm, and Jones Dairy Farm.

Geography and climate[edit]

Rock River floods downtown area, 2004

Fort Atkinson is located at 42°55′38″N 88°50′26″W / 42.92722°N 88.84056°W / 42.92722; -88.84056 (42.927091, −88.840446).[10]

According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 5.82 square miles (15.07 km2), of which 5.67 square miles (14.69 km2) is land and 0.15 square miles (0.39 km2) is water.[1]

The city developed along the river, which provided the earliest transportation pathways for trade and travel. Occasionally the downtown area is flooded when the Rock River exceeds its banks. Just east of the city, the Bark River enters the Rock and can add considerable volume in certain seasons. The Rock River is a tributary of the Mississippi River, which it joins at Rock Island, Illinois.

Climate data for Fort Atkinson, Wisconsin
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Record high °F (°C) 58
(14)
67
(19)
83
(28)
90
(32)
93
(34)
101
(38)
102
(39)
102
(39)
98
(37)
88
(31)
78
(26)
67
(19)
102
(39)
Average high °F (°C) 26
(−3)
31
(−1)
43
(6)
57
(14)
69
(21)
79
(26)
83
(28)
80
(27)
73
(23)
61
(16)
45
(7)
31
(−1)
56.5
(13.6)
Average low °F (°C) 8
(−13)
13
(−11)
24
(−4)
36
(2)
46
(8)
56
(13)
61
(16)
58
(14)
49
(9)
38
(3)
27
(−3)
15
(−9)
35.9
(2.1)
Record low °F (°C) −33
(−36)
−39
(−39)
−22
(−30)
−4
(−20)
25
(−4)
35
(2)
39
(4)
37
(3)
28
(−2)
11
(−12)
−10
(−23)
−29
(−34)
−39
(−39)
Precipitation inches (mm) 1.39
(35.3)
1.32
(33.5)
2.10
(53.3)
3.42
(86.9)
3.25
(82.6)
3.79
(96.3)
3.92
(99.6)
4.16
(105.7)
3.41
(86.6)
2.56
(65)
2.49
(63.2)
1.65
(41.9)
33.46
(849.9)
Source: [11]

Demographics[edit]

Replica of early 19th century army fortification built in Fort Atkinson

2010 census[edit]

As of the census[2] of 2010, there were 12,368 people, 5,125 households, and 3,214 families residing in the city. The population density was 2,181.3 inhabitants per square mile (842.2 /km2). There were 5,429 housing units at an average density of 957.5 per square mile (369.7 /km2). The racial makeup of the city was 92.5% White, 0.6% African American, 0.3% Native American, 0.7% Asian, 4.4% from other races, and 1.4% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 9.1% of the population.

There were 5,125 households of which 31.4% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 47.1% were married couples living together, 10.7% had a female householder with no husband present, 4.9% had a male householder with no wife present, and 37.3% were non-families. 30.2% of all households were made up of individuals and 12.3% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.36 and the average family size was 2.94.

The median age in the city was 38.4 years. 23.9% of residents were under the age of 18; 7.5% were between the ages of 18 and 24; 27.4% were from 25 to 44; 26.6% were from 45 to 64; and 14.6% were 65 years of age or older. The gender makeup of the city was 48.5% male and 51.5% female.

2000 census[edit]

As of the census[4] of 2000, there were 11,621 people, 4,760 households, and 3,070 families residing in the city. The population density was 2,154.8 people per square mile (832.4/km²). There were 4,983 housing units at an average density of 924.0 per square mile (356.9/km²). The racial makeup of the city was 93.09% White, 0.34% African American, 0.29% Native American, 0.60% Asian, 0.01% Pacific Islander, 1.87% from other races, and 0.79% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 4.37% of the population.

There were 4,760 households out of which 31.4% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 52.2% were married couples living together, 9.2% had a female householder with no husband present, and 35.5% were non-families. 29.4% of all households were made up of individuals and 12.7% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.40 and the average family size was 2.96.

In the city the population was spread out with 24.2% under the age of 18, 8.6% from 18 to 24, 30.9% from 25 to 44, 21.8% from 45 to 64, and 14.5% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 36 years. For every 100 females there were 93.4 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 90.6 males.

The median income for a household in the city was $43,807, and the median income for a family was $51,689. Males had a median income of $36,442 versus $23,852 for females. The per capita income for the city was $21,008. 5.3% of the population and 3.9% of families were below the poverty line. Out of the total population, 4.7% of those under the age of 18 and 5.8% of those 65 and older were living below the poverty line.

Economy[edit]

Downtown Fort Atkinson

Today Fort Atkinson is home to industry, health care, and a tourist trade. The city's largest employer is Fort HealthCare, an integrated hospital and health system. Fort Atkinson Memorial Hospital has 82 licensed beds and more than 100 physicians on staff; Fort Medical Group, a subsidiary of Fort HealthCare, employs more than 60 physicians, nurse practitioners, and other healthcare providers.[12]

The Fireside Dinner Theatre draws tens of thousands of visitors each year.[13] Another tourist attraction is a reconstruction of the original fort.

The town is also home to Cygnus Business Media and Spacesaver.

Education[edit]

Fort Atkinson School District has four elementary schools, one middle school and one high school. Barrie, Rockwell, Purdy, and Luther elementary schools serve grades 1 to 5, Fort Atkinson Middle School (FAMS) grades 6 to 8, and Fort Atkinson High School grades 9 to 12.[14] The high school's mascot is the "Blackhawks" named after Sauk leader, Chief Blackhawk.

Transportation[edit]

Primary automobile transportation is provided via Highway 12, Highway 26, Highway 89 and Highway 106. Highway 26 provides easy access to Interstate 94 (to the north in Johnson Creek), leading to downtown Milwaukee in about an hour; and to Interstate 90 (to the south in Janesville) leading to downtown Chicago in about 2.5 hours. Highway 12 provides access to the Madison metro area in about 45 minutes. General aviation interests are served by the Fort Atkinson Municipal Airport. Fort Atkinson was a stop on the C&NW Milwaukee to Madison line.

Notable people[edit]

References[edit]

External links[edit]